The books I read in 2019.


One year ago I resolved to spend more time in 2019 engaged in reading, not from a Kindle or similarly soul-numbing modern electronic gadget, but old-school and tactile.

Mission (perhaps surprisingly) accomplished.

I wouldn’t know how to go about choosing a favorite from among the books listed below. “Light” reading is largely alien to me, and generally I’m not seeking to be “entertained” in any conventional sense.  There are exceptions, although in large measure I read to learn. 

Having said this, and conceding that seven of these books pertain in greater or smaller measure to the European locales we recently toured (Croatia, Slovenia and particularly Trieste), it seems clear that the latter half of 2019 was a tantamount to a university course on the history of these areas.

No credit hours will be awarded, but those aren’t necessary to learn something, and I did — and Pynchon’s Vineland was, yes, very entertaining.

Back in August, I also got around to updating a list.

ON THE AVENUES: The 32 most influential books in my life.

2019 Reading List
My Fatherland
, a
novel by Goran Vojnovic
Sicilian Summer, a travelogue by Brian Johnston
Stalingrad, a novel by Vassily Grossman
and the Meaning of Nowhere
, travel/history by Jan Morris
Vineland, a novel by Thomas Pynchon
Baudolino, a novel by Umberto Eco
Dreamers, a fact-based novel by Volker
in a River Town
local history by Justin Endres
Travels in Northern Greece
, a travelogue by Patrick Leigh Fermor
Avignon Quintet, five novels by Lawrence Durrell
• Monsieur (1974)
• Livia (1978)
• Constance (1982)
• Sebastian (1983)
• Quinx (1985)